Purple Salsify Starry Shaped Flowers and Unique Seed Heads

Starry shaped purple flower,

Admittedly I had never thought much of Salsify flowers – that is until I saw the first Purple Salsify at the xeric gardens recently. This was definitely the new kid on the block. I walked by the plant with its purple starry flowers not giving it much attention. But then a gentleman who I had conversed with at the gardens previously suggested that I take a closer look. Given my morning photographing flowers up to that point was rather meh (I could not seem to find a grove),  I decided to take him up on his suggestion.

I’m glad I did! As it turns out, these Purple Salsify flower photos turned out to be my favorite ones of the morning. Once I got home and looked at them in detail on my computer, I realized just how pretty they were.

Having only seen the yellow ones in the past (was told they were an invasive species), these pale purple ones were a whole different animal. So as per usual, I did some internet recon on them…

Purple Salsify Background Info

Salsify, Tragopogon porrifolius, is a hardy biennial bearing purple, starry flowers from spring to autumn. The definition of Salsify is an edible European plant with a long root like a parsnip and can be eaten raw or cooked. Salsify roots are the most commonly eaten parts, but the flowers, seeds, and leaves can also be cooked.

Purple salsify flower with long slender green buds.
Purple Salsify with long, pointy green buds.

“Purple salsify, often known as the oyster plant, is a vegetable in the asteraceae family.

Although it’s a biennial plant that has roots in the Mediterranean area, historical sources indicate that it was originally grown in Italy. It’s grown for its tasty root as well as other components that may have therapeutic qualities. Salsify was formerly prized for its aesthetic qualities, but it’s now cultivated in the same way as carrots and grated into salads and added to sandwiches and eggs owing to its delicious taste.

Salsify has a number of health benefits, including aiding digestion, supporting the functioning of the immune system, blood pressure control, improving skin health, fighting cancerous cells, supporting healthy bones, alleviating premature syndrome symptoms, promoting weight loss, improving brain health, and promoting healthy hair growth.”

Info referenced from: https://www.thejoint.com/georgia/roswell/roswell-04028/330356-health-benefits-salsify

The plants have slender, long pointed green buds on tall stems. Looking closely at the flowers, you see all the golden yellow stamens in the flower center. Such a beautiful contrast of colors against the purple! Who knew this flower was not only pretty, but edible and good for you too!

Purple salsify flower bloom.
Blooming purple star-shaped flower.
Purple salsify flower with golden stamens.
You can see how the golden yellow pollen covered stamens against the purple center.

Unique Seed Heads After the Bloom

What has caught my attention in the past when it comes to salsify flowers is their crazy looking seed heads. They definitely give dandelions a run for their money! These much larger white, round seed heads are VERY cool – especially when you get up close to them. They have so much detail with all their filaments! 

Puffy round salsify seed head.
Unique seed head of a salsify flower after it has bloomed.

Looking at them up close on a computer monitor and they kind of remind me of peacock feathers. There’s so much texture. The transparency of the filaments overlays onto the gardens colorful contributors giving the image depth.  Having photographed one of these seed heads before, I now have much more of an appreciation for both a Purple Salsify flower AND its lovely, puffy seed head.

Close-up of salsify seed head.
Seed head close up with all its details.

Definitely take a closer look the next time you see either the purple flowers or the seed heads. You may be pleasantly surprised! 🙂 

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